Pubdate: Thu, 06 Aug 2015
Source: Winnipeg Free Press (CN MB)
Copyright: 2015 Winnipeg Free Press
Author: Katie May
Page: B1


THE owner of Winnipeg's sole medical-marijuana dispensary faces
drug-trafficking charges after police arrested him and shut down his
business Tuesday.

Glenn Allan Price, 54, was arrested at his unlicensed Main Street
dispensary and is charged with drug trafficking and possession
offences, as well as possession of the proceeds of crime after police
issued two search warrants at his home and business. He was released
from custody.

The Winnipeg Police Service said the dispensary was an illegal
drug-trafficking business, from which they seized two pounds of the
drug. Officers seized two ounces of marijuana from the accused's
residence above his storefront in the 1400 block of Main Street,
police said.

Price didn't have a licence to operate the dispensary, and there is no
indication he had a medical-marijuana licence for personal use, police

The City of Vancouver licenses and regulates medical-marijuana
dispensaries, but that isn't the case in Winnipeg, so police here must
investigate unlicensed dispensaries as illegal drug operations, said
Winnipeg police spokesman Const. Rob Carver.

"I certainly wouldn't say it's tricky in Winnipeg. I think at the
moment, this is a very straightforward situation. Unless the business
has followed the proper protocol to establish (itself) as a qualified
distributor, then we have no choice but to view it as selling illegal
drugs," Carver said.

"There are detailed procedures about what's involved in certifying a
business to be able to do that. None of that was done. That raises
safety concerns. It raises concerns about a complete inability to
substantiate the quality of what's being distributed. It doesn't meet
any of the criteria that have been established. And when those
criteria aren't met, then it's just the sale of an illegal drug," he

Price was faxing paperwork to his lawyer in Vancouver when he was
reached by phone Wednesday. He said he was held for 12 hours without
food after police raided his dispensary.

Noting his lawyer cautioned him against speaking publicly, he referred
questions to a vocal community advocate for medical marijuana.

That advocate, Steven Stairs, said Price briefed him after police
released him at midnight. "They threw the book at him," Stairs said.
"It's overkill. They're trying to make an example of Glenn, but I
honestly don't think they'll succeed. We'll fight this, and we'll see
more dispensaries come. Glenn is not alone."

Price opened the dispensary at 1404-A Main St. on July 1. Two weeks
later, police showed up at the shop and warned Price he risked arrest
for filling and selling the prescriptions doctors give patients for
pot without having a federal licence.

It's time Winnipeg regulate medical-marijuana operations, said
Mynarski Coun. Ross Eadie.

Eadie said he plans to introduce a motion in September that would see
Winnipeg license and regulate medical-marijuana dispensaries the way
it does for escort and massage services. The city would have control
over where dispensaries are located and could charge municipal fees,
he said.
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